Volkswagen Arteon scores IIHS Top Safety Pick award for 2021 – Roadshow

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

The 2021 VW Arteon is handsome and roomy, and now we know it's super safe too.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Voltswagen's -- sorry, Volkswagen's -- flagship 2021 Arteon sedan just scored itself one of the coveted Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety but couldn't manage to close the deal on the Top Safety Pick Plus award, according to an announcement made on Thursday by the IIHS.

Roadshow editors love the Arteon for a bunch of reasons, including its good looks, decent in-cabin tech and its surprisingly cavernous cargo capacity. Now we can love it because it's super safe too. The Arteon managed to ace all six of its IIHS crash tests and also comes standard with a front crash prevention system that scored Superior in vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance and Advanced in vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance.

The Arteon even managed to crush things in the headlight category -- something which still manages to trip up many manufacturers -- with the LED projector headlights that come on the SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line models being rated Good.

Unfortunately, VW seems to have decided to cheap out on the lesser trims' headlights, which were rated Poor by the IIHS. This means that the Arteon is not eligible for the Top Safety Pick Plus award, which requires that headlights rated Good or Acceptable come as standard on all trim levels.

Still, if you've had your eye on the Arteon but were waffling as to whether you should buy one, this safety rating might be just enough to convince you. 

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Infiniti is recalling 2021 Q50 and Q60 models over stalling concerns – Roadshow

2021 Infiniti Q50 Sensory

The 2021 Infiniti Q50 and Q60 are subject to a recall, according to NHTSA.

Infiniti

According to a recent filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Infiniti is recalling 2021 Q50 and Q60 models over concerns that they could stall under hard acceleration.

Specifically, the vehicle's engine control module can substantially cut the engine's power after detecting hard acceleration. This power reduction is accomplished by cutting fuel, and it's possible that the computer could cut the fuel enough to stall the car.

This recall affects 12,943 vehicles, and the fix involves reprogramming the vehicle's engine management system. This work, like all recalls, will be performed free of charge. Infiniti expects to start the recall repair work on May 25.

If you own one of the affected models, you can call Infiniti's customer service line at 1-800-867-7669 and reference recall number R20C5 for more information.

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Mercedes-Benz to recall 2017-2018 CLA, GLA models over steering concern – Roadshow

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Mercedes is recalling its CLA and GLA models over wonky steering shafts.

Roadshow

Mercedes-Benz is recalling 2017-2018 CLA and GLA models over concerns that they could lose steering, according to a NHTSA filing dated April 1.

The issue affects 2017 CLA250 and 2017-2018 CLA45 AMG, GLA250 and GLA45 AMG models. It stems from an improperly sized steering shaft bore hole that can eventually allow the separation of the steering universal joint, which would make it impossible to steer the vehicle. There's no record of any crashes associated with the defect.

This issue affects just 4,992 vehicles. The fix involves replacing the steering shaft in its entirety and will be performed (like all recalls) free of charge. Mercedes expects to start notifying owners of affected vehicles soon, with recall work set to begin on May 31.

If you own one of the affected models, you can call Mercedes' customer service line for more information at 1-800-367-6372.

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Ford confirms cheaper Explorer Enthusiast ST, plus RWD and hybrid Platinum trims – Roadshow

The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST may not have a name that rolls off the tongue, but with a cheaper price, it might roll off dealer lots a little quicker.

Ford

Ford is making a few changes to its popular Explorer SUV lineup, and the biggest news is the introduction of a lower-cost version of its 2021 Explorer ST performance model. Announced Thursday, the new trim is somewhat awkwardly called Explorer Enthusiast ST. 

Slightly decontented from the standard ST, the Explorer Enthusiast ST doesn't exactly sound like it'll be a penalty box. The model still gets the same twin-turbocharged EcoBoost six-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, good for 400 horsepower, 415 pound-feet of torque and a 143-mph top speed. The Enthusiast ST also wears the same sport-tuned suspension and includes such niceties as a partial-leather interior, 20-inch wheels, Class II Trailer Tow Package and standard CoPilot 360 advanced safety gear, all for $51,240 including $1,245 delivery -- $2,800 less than a standard 2021 Explorer ST.

Also new is a slightly less costly rear-wheel drive version of the Explorer Platinum for markets where all-wheel drive isn't a necessity. This lux trim comes with a 3.0-liter V6, and while Ford doesn't list a price for it, we'd expect it to run around $2,000 less than the current Explorer Platinum AWD. 

The Explorer's range-topping Platinum model will finally be available with hybrid power.

Ford

This news continues the Blue Oval's trend toward offering more-affordable versions of the Explorer, which has been facing stiff competition from both home and abroad. 

In other Platinum news, Ford has finally decided to bring its 3.3-liter V6 hybrid drivetrain to the Explorer Platinum. The V6-based hybrid offers 315 hp and promises to return an EPA-estimated 23 miles-per-gallon city, 26 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined -- fuel efficiency figures good enough for a 500-plus-mile range between gas station visits. Ford plans on charging a starting price of $54,330 (including $1,245 destination) for the most luxurious hybrid SUV you can get with a Blue Oval on the hood.

All three models: Enthusiast ST, Platinum RWD and Platinum Hybrid are available to order now and should hit Ford dealers later this summer, where they will join the recently revealed Explorer King Ranch trim announced in February.

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Daimler Trucks opens preorders on its eCascadia and eM2 electric trucks – Roadshow

Freightliner eCascadia

This big electric boy is going into production in late 2022.

Daimler Trucks

Daimler Trucks North America announced on Tuesday that its battery-electric eCascadia and eM2 trucks are now available for preorder. The company claims that both trucks will be the longest-range commercial electric vehicles on sale in the US. The trucks are set to enter production in late 2022, so there's still a bit of a wait before we start seeing them on our roads.

Both the eCascadia and eM2 will feature electric drivetrains from Detroit -- of Detroit Diesel fame -- which makes sense, given that it's a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler Trucks. This "ePowertrain," as Detroit calls it, will feature either single or dual motors and offer up to 23,000 pound-feet of torque. The system will be good for up to 230 miles in the eM2 and 250 miles in the eCascadia semi.

As part of the ordering process, Daimler is offering an "eConsulting" service -- those Daimler people love slapping "e" on things, don't they? -- that will help companies integrate the new electric trucks into their fleets by advising on things like charging options.

Daimler didn't provide any pricing information but as these are big, heavy Class 8 and medium-duty truck, we'd expect it to be somewhere in the neighborhood of "a lot."

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2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450: Small changes, small wonder – Roadshow

Discuss: 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS 450: Small changes, small wonder

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.

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Mercedes CLS450 gets a new face for 2022, CLS53 gets the axe – Roadshow

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It's still a middle child, but the CLS is as handsome as it ever was.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' CLS-Class has been around since the early aughts and has served as a more stylish, swoopy and affordable alternative to the S-Class. The CLS is back for 2022 as the CLS450 and, while the changes since the 2021 model may not be massive, the CLS still holds true to its original purpose -- unfortunately, that doesn't hold true for the CLS53 model.

The 2022 CLS doesn't get any mechanical upgrades from the 2021 model, but the aesthetic changes are nice. The most significant change to the vehicle's styling comes in the form of a new front end with an updated bumper and a new grille that features a repeating Mercedes star pattern as well as a new rear bumper. These changes coincide with the decision to make the AMG Line aesthetics package standard.

While the AMG Line pack becomes standard, Mercedes officials confirmed to Automobile Magazine on Thursday that the CLS53 would not be returning to the US due to lack of sales. It's an interesting move, considering how mechanically similar the 53 and 450 models actually are.

Inside, it's the steering wheel that gets the most attention. It now features capacitive sensors and is wrapped in soft Nappa leather. There are also a host of new color and trim options for the interior.

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The main interior change is a new, Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel with capacitive buttons.

Mercedes-Benz

The CLS got Mercedes' MBUX system last year, and it's back again. MBUX remains one of our favorite infotainment systems and features powerful natural speech recognition to control various vehicle functions. The near-dash-spanning dual 12.3-inch displays are back as well and have become one of the calling cards of Mercedes' current interior design ethos.

Being a modern Mercedes, there is a ton of safety and driver-aid tech on board. This includes adaptive cruise with route-based speed adaptation, active lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and a driver attention warning system. Active parking assist is also available and will let you enter or leave a parallel or end-in parking space automatically.

Pricing and fuel economy data for the 2022 CLS-Class have not yet been made available, but based on past models, we'd expect it to hover between the E-Class and S-Class sedans -- likely in the $70,000 range. Mercedes expects to have the CLS in dealers in early 2022.

Updated April 9 at 3:28 p.m. PT: Added confirmation that CLS53 AMG model wouldn't be part of the refresh.

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Mercedes snags a European trademark for EQG – Roadshow

Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius announced EQA for 2020

Ola Källenius talked up an electrified G-Class last year and a new trademark filing seems to back up the truth of his words.

Daimler

Last fall, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius talked about the company's plans to electrify its popular G-Class SUV, and now, a European Union Intellectual Property Office filing found by members of the MBEQClub forum and reported on by The Drive Friday shows that Mercedes has trademarked the name "EQG." 

This trademark filing very likely means that Mercedes is planning on offering a fully-battery-electric Geländewagen, rather than one that's merely been "electrified" with a hybrid system. This electric G-Class would be cool for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which are the potential off-road benefits of having maximum torque at 0 rpm.

It's unclear at this point what kind of platform would underpin an electric G -- would it be a new, built-to-purpose architecture? Or would Mercedes attempt to work within the deceptively small footprint of the existing G-Wagen? Beyond that, would we even get it in the US market? Mercedes has been hesitant to bring the EQC here, after all.

Mercedes has been going hard at the EQ thing, with journalists just now starting to get a taste of the forthcoming electric EQS flagship model and the EQC SUV now entering the market in Europe, so we'll be very interested to see what this trademark filing means in the short term.

We reached out to Mercedes for comment, but didn't hear back in time for publication.

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Volvo adds 5 more models to the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus list – Roadshow

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The 2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country is one of five Volvo models to receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award.

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

Volvo built basically its entire brand on the idea that its cars were safe. Supersafe, even, and that's why it's not much of a surprise to see that the bulk of its lineup has already snagged coveted Top Safety Pick Plus awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to an announcement Wednesday.

Specifically, the 2021 S90 and S90 Recharge, the V90 and V90 Cross Country and the V60 Cross Country join their brethren in Top Safety Pick Plus Valhalla. The trick to getting that little plus sign, as it turns out, was in the headlights.

Most vehicles these days are pretty safe. They handle the IIHS battery of crash tests with aplomb, coddling their occupants in life-saving airbags and hiding them behind crumple zones. Unfortunately for them, that's no longer enough to get top marks from the IIHS, which also places a great deal of importance on being able to avoid a crash before you have to survive one.

Seeing a bad situation before you get into it is an excellent way to avoid a crash, so the IIHS made good headlights an essential criterion for its awards. Manufacturers who offer good headlights as standard get more credit than those who hide the best beams behind an options package.

So, the good news for vehicle shoppers is that water remains wet, the sky remains blue and a Volvo remains a good place to put your family if you care about their safety in a crash.

We reached out to Volvo for comment but didn't hear back in time for publication.

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Fiat 500 Hey Google edition is the weird brand collab you’ve been searching for – Roadshow

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It's mostly just a Fiat 500 with some subtle Google branding.

Fiat

It typically ends up being entertaining (if not usually very good) when automakers look outside the automotive space for brand partnerships. This is how we got the Iron Man Hyundai Kona, the Call of Duty Jeep Wrangler, or if you want to go way back, the Levi's Edition AMC Gremlin.

The colored dots are actually a cool touch.

Fiat

The latest weirdo collaboration is the 2021 Fiat 500 Hey Google Edition, which the brand announced on Wednesday. That's right, you can now get yourself a Google-branded Fiat 500 if you live in Europe, but what kinds of sweet, sweet search engine-themed design touches does it have? 

Not all that many, to be honest. It's got a black roof and mirror caps, 15-inch wheels and a silver dashboard. It's available in Gelato White, Pastel Gray, Vesuvius Black, Pompeii Gray and Blue Italia. It's also got some dot decals on the B pillar in Google's corporate colors, along with seats that feature the same motif as well as "Hey Google" embroidery. 

The big thing with the Hey Google 500 (and L and X) is the integration of Mopar Connect Services with Google Assistant. Together, they allow you to use natural speech to interact with your vehicle and interact remotely with smart home devices connected to your account.

The dot motif continues inside the cabin, too.

Fiat

To help kick things off on the smart home front, each Hey Google 500 will include a Nest Hub with a letter telling you how to set everything up to work together.

We're not totally sure when the 500 Hey Google will be available or how much Fiat will charge for it, but we reached out to Fiat representatives to find out. Unfortunately, we didn't hear back in time for publication.

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